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all things that stand upon record in fcripture, are for our admonitian, upan whom the ends of the world are come, 1 Cor. X. 11. Hence we are taught what great care a man ought to take, to preserve his innocence and integrity, for these are a safeguard and protection to him ; these give him security, and preserve him in safety. A man doth defy sin at the first, but when he is out of the use of his principles, which are wont to stay and govern him, he is as a weak man without a staff. Principles of religion and conscience, they are a bar against iniquity, whereby it receives a check, a stop, and controul : but if a man discharge himself once of the reason of his mind, or the rule of conscience, we do not know how far he may miscarry. If once the principles of religion and conscience give way, and we volunta, rily or negligently incur a forfeiture of our innocency and integrity, and by so doing, lose God's tection, we shall be exposed to all manner of evils ; for these are as a dam, which once being broken down, all evils will flow in upon us : for, beginnings of fin, are like the lettings in of mighty waters, which at the first might have been prevented, but if once it hath got over, twenty times as much will not stay it. So it is in sin ; while a man retains his innocence, there is a modesty and ingenuity upon his mind, and that will be his preservation ; but if once a man, either by grofs neglect, or voluntarily doth consent to iniquity, and so betray himself, he doth incur a forfeiture of God's protection, and cast away that which is his greatest security and defence; and this is the true account of that great impudence
and immodesty that many finners arrive unto. For our better security, let us consider,
1. That it is much easier to prevent than to restrain sin, and to recover a man's self. 'Tis easier : a great deal, not to consent to fin, than to lay any limits upon one's self. 2. Let us be very wary and cautious of approach
i while we are upon our legs, and are ourselves, let us be jealous and cautious of approach
3. Let us have no self-confidence ; let us not arrogate to ourselves, as if we were self-sufficient, but know that our sufficiency is of God, whose strength is sufficient for us in our weakness. And there are the advantages that I make of Jonah's distemper.
Now to proceed. It is pity, that that should be true which yonah would have, that a finner should in any state be uncapable of repentance, even after denunciation of judgment ; or that repentance should not at any time take effect ; and this Jonah would have had. It were a thousand pities it should be so, for it would prove the undoing of the world, and the worst news that could be brought from heaven unto men ; that there should be an incapacity of repentance in any state of fin whatsoever ; or that repentance, in any case, at any time, should prove successless and ineffectual ; and yet, this is that which Jonah would have had. And he is a great deal the more to blame, because he is wilful in his distemper : for in the text we find, that 70nah knew before hand, that if they did repent, God was so gracious and merciful, that he would revoke his sentence, and therefore he tells him, that he was unwilling to go out of his country ; for I knew that thou wast a gracious and merciful God, and repenteft thee of the evil.
1. Observe here, friends, how paffion transforms a man : how madly doth Jonah argue, even in the prefence of God himself! But,
2. Observe how selfifiness doth narrow and contract a man's spirit. Jonah considers nothing ; sixscore thousand are nothing to be sacrificed for the maintaining of his credit : see then what a wretched thing 'tis to the world, a felfish spirit.
3. Obferve hence, that sin is the cause of judgment ; for God's denunciation against the Ninevites, is caused by their provocations.
4. Observe, that there is no stay at all in the way of fin; for Jonah still goes on from worse to worse. He that begins in fin, knows not where he shall end.
5. Take notice from hence, that repentance doth alter the case ; I knew that thou wert a God gracious and merciful, and repentest thee of the evil. 'Tis necessary to our safety and preservation, to give up ourselves to God's guidance and government. Let us keep our selves in God's hand, and live in a daily belief of our dependence upon God, and be always sensible of our own weakness and infirmity ; and fo to think of Jonah's miscarriage, as to make us modest and humble, and to depend upon God continually. He that will live according to his own will, or have his will unsubdued, and unrefigned up to God, he will not be safe. Lust unmortifi
ed doth precipitate the humour, and useth a man as a lave, and by it he is intoxicated. Humour is an upstart, and perfect rebel against the sovereignty and authority of reason.
6. Further observe in this story of Jonah, how God deals with man to bring him to a right mind, when he finds him in his distemper. God here deals with Jonah by reason and by argument. Thom hadft pity upon the gourd ; should not I have compaffion upon fixfcore thousand persons, amongst which there are many that through infirmity and nonage, are not able to know their right hand from their left? God applies to our faculties, and deals with us by reason and argument : let us learn of God, and deal with one another in meekness and calmness of spirit, and know, that the reason of our mind is the best tool we have to work withal : and no man's sayings to another are valuable further than he brings reason for what he says, and gives an account of himself in a rational way. We cannot do any good by peevithness and exasperation ; the righteousness of God is nos attained by the wrath of men, Jam. i. 20. You sec how God deals with Jonah, by reason and by argu. ment.
Then further, it is said, verse 2. That Jonah prayad unto God, and said, was not this my saying when I was jet in my country, &c. A strange kind of prayer this was ; for indeed he rather quarrels with God, than prays unto him. In prayer let us take care of two things.
1, That qür mind be in a praying temper.
2. That thac
2. That we offer to God in sacrifice, prayer-matter. Let us look to the temper of our spirits, and the government of our minds, and our due intenti
You see truth for the matter, may be false for for the manner. He brings this for an argument, that God was merciful; this was true for the matter, but a strange argument for that which Jonah would plead for by it. The devil spoke truth in the scripture sometimes, but always for ill purpose. That which fonah would have had, would have undone him, and all the world besides. Sometimes we wish and pray
for our harm. Let us submit our prayer to God ; 'tis sometimes better that God should not answer us in what
for. You see upon reading these words, a man would not imagine the case as we find it. For here we have a person of eminent priviledge ; Jonah, who lived before other of the prophets (the certain time not certainly known) of all the prophets, a type of Chrift. The prophet Isaiah is called the evangelital prophet, for that he spoke concerning the kingdom of Christ very clearly : but Jonah had the advantage of being the type of Christ. An extraordinary person, a prophet, a type of Christ ; yet a man exceeding displeased, and very angry, and that without any cause at all. For if you consider these two things, you aggravate Jonah's distemper beyond measure.
1. The person with whom he is displeased. 2. The cause for which he is displeased. 1. The person wiih whom he is displeased ; and